Frankfort is located on Interstate 64 in the US state of Kentucky between two vibrant cities that just so happen to start with the letter “L”. They are Louisville and Lexington. Frankfort is nestled in a scenic spot with the Kentucky River winding its way through the city in a S curve. Frankfort serves as the state capital of Kentucky. As such, there are a few places that will give you a reason to visit the city for what to do in Kentucky.
Kentucky State Capitol
The Kentucky State Capitol is located on Capital Avenue just west of the Kentucky River in the south part of Frankfort. The grand state capitol is designed in the Beaux-Arts architectural style. It was built in 1910. It is built of Indiana limestone and Vermont granite. The interior of the state capitol is renowned for its classical French designs.
The staircases are an example of this as they are replicas of the ones found at Opera Garnier in Paris, France. The state capitol contains three full floors. It houses the office of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear who is himself the son of Steve Beshear, the state’s governor from 2007 to 2015. The state legislature is housed inside two chambers on opposing sides of the state capitol.
One thing that is worth noting is that unlike many other state supreme courts which are housed in buildings that aren’t their state’s capitols, the Kentucky Supreme Court is actually housed inside the state capitol. Located in the rotunda of the state capitol are statues dedicated to notable Kentuckians. The most famous of these is former US President Abraham Lincoln.
Even though he is widely known for his Illinois roots prior to his presidency, he was actually born in Kentucky. The other statues in the rotunda are for Henry Clay, Dr. Ephraim McDowell, and former US Vice President Alben Barkley. The walk to the state capitol is rewarding in of itself. The main entrance to the building is lined with a wide pink walkway containing a neat median filled with a long lawn and a circular flower bed.
The walkway is lined on both sides by eye-pleasing lampposts and trees. Also located on the state capitol’s beautiful grounds is a floral clock. So, you will want to check that out too. The admission to the state capitol is free of charge for everyone.
Old State Capitol
The Old State Capitol is located on West Broadway Street in Frankfort’s historic downtown. Before the state government moved into the current state capitol which I just discussed above, it had a more humble beginning at the old state capitol. The old state capitol served as the seat of state government from 1830 until 1910 when the new state capitol was built and the state government relocated there.
The architectural style of the old state capitol is Greek Revival. This particular architectural style was chosen in order to convey the connection of the young state of Kentucky to the ancient Greek concept of popular democratic government. The front of the old state capitol building is reflective of the Temple of Minerva Polias at Priene in ancient Greece.
A few other architectural features of the old state capitol to note of include a self-supporting stone stairway and a domed lantern designed to let in sunlight. The old state capitol served as the climax to the bitterly contested 1899 election for governor of Kentucky. That was when one of the claimants to the governorship, William Goebel, was assassinated just outside the old state capitol building in January of 1900.
He was on his way to being inaugurated as Kentucky’s governor when the assassination happened. There is a plaque posted in front of the old state capitol to mark the spot where the assassination happened. The old state capitol is now a museum where you can learn about the politics of 19th century Kentucky and the contested governor election that led to the assassination of William Goebel.
The admission prices for the old state capitol are $8 for adults and $6 for veterans and youth aged from 6 to 18. Those who are under the age of 6 will get free admission.
In addition to being the state capital of Kentucky, Frankfort is known to contain numerous historic homes. One such example of this is Liberty Hall. This historic home is located on Wilkinson Street west of downtown Frankfort near the Kentucky River. It is a two-story, five-bay brick home built in the Federal architectural style. The historic home was built sometime between 1796 and 1800 by John Brown.
John was the first US Senator from the state of Kentucky. He served in this role from June of 1792 to March of 1805. He is best known for his major role in pushing for the form of the state of Kentucky and its admittance into the union. Before Kentucky became a state, it was a part of Virginia.
He pushed for Kentucky’s statehood during serving as a US Representative from Virginia from March of 1789 to June of 1792. Liberty Hall now operates as a museum that contains a collection of artifacts that once belonged to John Brown and his family. The surrounding grounds is beautiful and include a number of gardens on the banks of the Kentucky River.
The admission prices for Liberty Hall are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $4 for youth aged from 6 to 18. There is free admission for those who are aged under 6. You can go here to buy your tickets.
These places offer you an incentive to check out Frankfort for what to do in Kentucky. Also, Frankfort is located in the state’s Bluegrass region which is also known as Horse Country. This region is world famous for being home to hundreds of lovely horse farms.
You can check out this post from last week to learn about a few horse farms you should visit in Kentucky. Also, if you are looking to head to Louisville, I would suggest a few downtown museums to visit. My previous post covers this.
Frankfort, Kentucky Hotels
If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at during your visit to Frankfort, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are two hotels I would suggest for you.
Hampton Inn Frankfort
This hotel is located on US Route 127 South just north of its interchange with Interstate 64. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include LongHorn Steakhouse, Ginza’s Japanese and Sushi, and Johnny Carino’s. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel for you to use.
All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $104 to $160. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Frankfort
This hotel is located on US Route 60 just north of the interchange with Interstate 64. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. Should you feel hungry, a few places nearby to eat out include Cattleman’s Roadhouse, Miguel’s Restaurante, and Cracker Barrel. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is available for your workout needs at the hotel.
All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $120 to $189. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.
What are your thoughts? Have you visited the state capital of Kentucky before? Feel free to drop a comment below.